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4-H?ers Take Over During PA Capital Days

(PRWEB) March 23, 2006 -- 4-H’ers from across Pennsylvania are gearing up to take over seats in the state legislature during the 42nd annual Pennsylvania State 4-H Capital Days, an annual citizenship awareness event to be held April 23-25 at the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers.

 “  Our goal is to help reverse these national trends.  
The goal of the two-day program is to introduce 4-H’ers to Pennsylvania government through a series of hands-on, interactive experiences, says Lydia Everhart, youth program management coordinator in Penn State's department of agricultural and extension education
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. “Participants will learn
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 how laws are passed by participating in a mock legislative session. They will be grouped into the majority and minority parties to discuss their party’s stand on the issues, and then come together as full house and vote on four bills that include issues such as nutrition labeling, dog laws, and agriculture issues.”

Other activities include being welcomed by Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll and being introduced to approximately 14 participating agencies and organizations to see how these agencies fit within state government structure. They will also attend workshops on Pennsylvania’s legislative process, meet and talk with other state government officials, and learn the importance of the private citizen's vote, which Everhart says is becoming a critical issue. “Recent studies have shown us that we are failing to inspire young Americans to be informed citizens. Most young people do not seek out information on government or politics, and as a result, voter participation is declining. Our goal is to help reverse these national trends,” says Everhart.

“The students are really excited because this is the type of hands-on experience they typically wouldn’t be exposed to in a traditional classroom setting. In addition, our returning teens will take on leadership roles and participate in group presentations to legislators. This helps us to illustrate the importance of the 4-H experience in leadership and citizen development.”

“4-H Capital Days is one of several opportunities for Pennsylvania’s youth to learn to be engaged with their communities,” states Christy Bartley, state 4-H program leader. “4-H members learn about local, state, and national governments through several opportunities during the program year.” 4-H partnered with Kerry Golden, executive director of House Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Eric Cowden, administrator of Agriculture and Rural Youth Grant Program, Pennsylvania Department of Education
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, to plan and implement this year’s event.

Pennsylvania 4-H is coordinated by Penn State Cooperative Extension. More information about 4-H Youth Development and 4-H Capital Days can be found at http://pa4h.psu.edu/.


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